A CHURCH group is giving crucial debt advice to residents as part of a new community drive.

The charity Christians Against Poverty has launched a new project aimed at people struggling financially locally after running a series of money management courses for the last five years.

The team, based at Shoebury and Thorpe Bay Baptist Church in Thorpedene Gardens, Shoebury, will go out to clients who ring in to say they need help.

The centre will also be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to give help and advice to people who have found themselves in serious debt.

Volunteer counsellors from the centre will also be able to act as agents for clients and negotiate with creditors for them.

Centre manager Richard Leadley said: “The courses we’ve run before has been more focused on debt prevention and help with basic budgeting.

“Through the centre though, I see the work we are going to be doing as more of a cure to personal debt crisis to get them out of debt and then make sure they don’t go back into debt.”

The centre will work alongside other local agencies such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Southchurch Foodbank to help people they come across.

Mr Leadley said assistance will be provided to anyone who turns to them at their hour of need, even if people find it hard to discuss their money problems.

He added: “I don’t know exactly how many Southend residents are having debt problems.

“But talking to other agencies around the town, I know there is a problem.

“It is still a taboo subject and there are many different reasons why people fall into debt, but we will be there for people who needs our help.”

To contact the centre, call 0800 328 0006 or visit www.capuk.org